I am a magazine ; ;
my name is Guideposts ; ;
this issue that you are reading marks my 15th anniversary .
When I came into being , 15 years ago , I had one primary purpose : to help men and women everywhere to know God better , and through knowing Him better to become happier and more effective people .
That purpose has never changed .
When you read me , you are holding in your hands the product of many minds and hearts .
Some of the people who speak through my pages are famous ; ;
others unknown .
Some work with their hands .
Some have walked through pain and sorrow to bring you their message of hope .
Some are so filled with gratitude , for the gift of life and the love of God , that their joy spills out on the paper and brightens the lives of thousands whom they have never known , and will never see .
Fifteen years ago , there were no Guideposts at all .
This month a million Guideposts will circulate all over the world .
Experts in the publishing field consider this astounding .
They do not understand how a small magazine with no advertising and no newsstand sale could have achieved such a following .
To me , the explanation is very simple .
I am not doing anything , of myself .
I am merely a channel for something .
What is this something ? ?
I cannot define it fully .
It is the force in the universe that makes men love goodness , even when they turn away from it .
It is the power that holds the stars in their orbits , but allows the wind to bend a blade of grass .
It is the whisper in the heart that urges each one to be better than he is .
It is mankind's wistful yearning for a world of justice and peace .
All things are possible to God , but He chooses -- usually -- to work through people .
Sometimes such people sense that they are being used ; ;
sometimes not .
Fifteen years ago , troubled by the rising tide of materialism in the post-war world , a businessman and a minister asked themselves if there might not be a place for a small magazine in which men and women , regardless of creed or color , could set forth boldly their religious convictions and bear witness to the power of faith to solve the endless problems of living .
The businessman was Raymond Thornburg .
The minister was Norman Vincent Peale .
Neither had any publishing experience , but they had faith in their idea .
They borrowed a typewriter , raised about $2,000 in contributions , hired a secretary , persuaded a couple of young men to join them for almost no pay and began mailing out a collection of unstapled leaflets that they called Guideposts .
Compared to the big , established magazines , my first efforts seemed feeble indeed .
But from the start they had two important ingredients : sincerity and realism .
The people who told the stories were sincere .
And the stories they told were true .
For example , early in my life , when one of my editorial workers wanted to find out how churches and philanthropic organizations met the needs of New York's down-and-outers , he didn't just ask questions .
Len LeSourd went and lived in the slums as a sidewalk derelict for ten days .
That was nearly 13 years ago .
Len LeSourd is my executive editor today .
Many of you are familiar , I'm sure , with the story of my early struggles : the fire in January , 1947 , that destroyed everything -- even our precious list of subscribers .
The help and sympathy that were forthcoming from everywhere .
The crisis later on when debts seemed about to overwhelm me .
That was when a remarkable woman , Teresa Durlach , came to my aid -- not so much with money , as with wisdom and courage .
`` You're not living up to your own principles '' , she told my discouraged people .
`` You're so preoccupied that you've let your faith grow dim .
What do you want -- a hundred thousand subscribers ? ?
Visualize them , then , believe you are getting them , and you will have them '' ! !
And the 100,000 subscribers became a reality .
And then 500,000 .
And now a million January Guideposts are in circulation .
With our growth came expansion into new fields of service .
Today more than a thousand industries distribute me to their employees .
They say all personnel have spiritual needs which Guideposts helps to meet .
Hundreds of civic clubs , business firms and individuals make me available to school teachers throughout the land .
They say it helps them bring back into schools the spiritual and moral values on which this country was built .
Thousands of free copies are sent each month to chaplains in the Armed Forces , to prison libraries and to hospitals everywhere .
Bedridden people say I am easy to hold -- and read .
Three years ago it became possible to finance a Braille edition for blind readers .
Throughout these exciting years I have been fortunate for , although I have never offered great financial inducements , talent has found its way to me : William Boal who so ably organizes business operations ; ;
John Beach who guides circulation ; ;
Irving Granville and Nelson Rector who travel widely calling on business firms .
Searching for the best in spiritual stories , my roving editors cover not only the country , but the whole world .
Glenn Kittler has been twice to Africa , once spending a week with Dr. Albert Schweitzer .
Last summer John and Elizabeth Sherrill were in Alaska .
Van Varner recently returned from Russia .
Twice a month the editorial staff meets in New York for an early supper , then a long evening of idea-exchange .
Around the table sit Protestant , Catholic , and Jew .
Each contributes something different , and something important : Ruth Peale , her wide experience in church work ; ;
Sidney Fields , years of experience as a New York columnist ; ;
Catherine Marshall LeSourd , the insight that has made her books world-famous and Norm Mullendore , the keen perception of an advertising executive .
There are people who travel long distances to assure my continued existence .
Elaine St. Johns may fly in from the West Coast for the editorial staff meetings .
Starr Jones gets up every morning at five o'clock , milks his family cow , attends to farm chores , and then takes a two-hour train trip to New York .
Arthur Gordon comes once a month all the way from Georgia .
We have also seen the power of faith at work among us .
Rose Weiss , who handles all the prayer-requests that we receive , answering each letter personally , has the serene selflessness that comes from suffering : she has had many major operations , and now gets about in a limited way on braces and crutches .
Recently , John Sherrill was stricken with one of the deadliest forms of cancer .
We prayed for John , during surgery , we asked others to pray ; ;
all over the country a massive shield of prayer was thrown around him .
Today the cancer is gone .
Perhaps it is not fair to mention some people without mentioning all .
But , you see , those who are not mentioned will not resent it .
That is the kind of people they are .
Perhaps you think the editorial meetings are solemn affairs , a little sanctimonious ? ?
Not so .
Serious , yes , but also much laughter .
Sharp division of opinion , too , and strenuous debate .
There are brain-wracking searches for the right word , the best phrase , the most helpful idea .
And there is also something intangible that hovers around the table .
A good word for it is fellowship .
A shorter word is .
Each meeting starts with a prayer , offered spontaneously by one member of the group .
It takes many forms , this prayer , but in essence it is always a request for guidance , for open minds and gentle hearts , for honesty and sincerity , for the wisdom and the insights that will help Guideposts' readers .
For you , readers , are an all-important part of the spiritual experiment that is Guideposts .
I need your support , your criticism , your encouragement , your prayers .
I am a magazine ; ;
my name is Guideposts .
My message , today , is the same as it was 15 years ago : that there is goodness in people , and strength and love in God .
May He bless you all .
Havana was filled with an excitement which you could see in the brightness of men's eyes and hear in the pitch of their voices .
The hated dictator Batista had fled .
Rumors flew from lip to lip that Fidel Castro was on his way to Havana , coming from the mountains where he had fought Batista for five years .
Already the city was filled with Barbudos , the bearded , war-dirty Revolutionaries , carrying carbines , waving to the crowds that lined the Prado .
And then Castro himself did come , bearded , smiling ; ;
yet if you looked closely you'd see that his eyes did not pick up the smile on his lips .
At first I was happy to throw the support of our newspaper behind this man .
I am sure that Castro was happy , too , about that support .
Diario De La Marina was the oldest and most influential paper in Cuba , with a reputation for speaking out against tyranny .
My grandfather had been stoned because of his editorials .
My own earliest memories are of exiles : my three brothers and I were taken often to the United States `` to visit relatives '' while my father stayed on to fight the dictator Machado .
When it was my turn , I , too , printed the truth as I knew it about Batista , and rejoiced to see his regime topple .
None of us was aware that the biggest fight was still ahead .
I was full of hope as Fidel Castro came into Havana .
Within a week , however , I began to suspect that something was wrong .
For Castro was bringing Cuba not freedom , but hatred .
He spent long hours before the TV spitting out promises of revenge .
He showed us how he dealt with his enemies : he executed them before TV cameras .
On home sets children were watching the death throes of men who were shot before the paredon , the firing wall .
Castro's reforms ? ?
He seemed bent on coupling them with vengeance .
New schools were rising , but with this went a harsh proclamation : any academic degree earned during Batista's regime was invalid .
Economic aid ? ?
He had promised cheaper housing : arbitrarily he cut all rents in half , whether the landlord was a millionaire speculator or a widow whose only income was the rental of a spare room .
Under another law , hundreds of farms were seized .
Farm workers had their wages cut almost in half .
Of this , only 50 cents a day was paid in cash , the rest in script usable only in `` People's Stores '' .
A suspicion was growing that Fidel Castro was a Communist .
In my mind , I began to review : his use of hate to gain support ; ;
his People's Courts ; ;
his division of society into two classes , one the hero , the other the villain .
But most disturbing of all were the advisers he called to sit with him in the Palace ; ;
many came from Communist countries .
What should I do about it , I asked myself ? ?
I had watched Castro handling his enemies before the paredon .
There was no doubt in my mind that if I crossed him , mobs would appear outside our windows shouting `` Paredon ! !
Paredon ! !
What should I do ? ?
I was proud of the new buildings which housed Diario now : the rotogravures , gleaming behind glass doors ; ;
the thump and whir of our new presses .
Here was a powerful , ready-made medium , but it could speak only if I told it to .
Then one day , early in January , 1960 , I sat down at my desk , and suddenly I was aware of the crucifix .
It was a simple ivory crucifix which my mother had given me .
I had mounted it on velvet and hung it over my desk to remind me always to use the power of the paper in a Christian manner .
Now it seemed almost as if Jesus were looking down at me with sadness in His eyes , saying :
`` You will lose the paper .
You may lose your life .
But do you have any choice '' ? ?
I knew in that moment that I did not have any choice .
From that day on I began to write editorials about the things I did not think correct in Fidel Castro's regime .